North Jersey News Roundup for June 5, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy said the arrangements for non-essential stores would follow those in use by essential retail since April 8. The state is setting a capacity limit at 50% at each location, face coverings and gloves are mandatory for shoppers and employees, floor markers for social distancing purposes are to be made and stores must regularly sanitize areas used by employees.

Meanwhile, the state’s indoor malls will remain closed. State officials said malls are being looked at but no timetable was given on when they could reopen. 

The Assembly voted along party lines to approve the Murphy administration-backed bill  authorizing the state to borrow as much as $9 billion. Republicans warned borrowing is the wrong way to go for an already debt-ridden state and that the burden will be felt for decades. PoliticoNJ

Gov. Phil Murphy fired back at Republican lawmakers who claimed a borrowing plan would hike property taxes on the state’s residents. “We have no plans to raise property taxes,” Murphy said. “If we didn’t do the bonding, that’s how property taxes would rise, because folks would have no other choice but to offset the cuts that would come their way.” New Jersey Globe

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has taken a national pledge created by the Obama Foundation to review and reform police use of force policies. Fulop said he is working with Public Safety Director James Shea and Police Chief Michael Kelly to clarify language outlining the city’s use of force policy for police officers, including limiting the use of chokeholds and mandating that officers intervene when another officer is clearly using force in violation of state law. The Jersey Journal

Sen. Cory Booker led the fight against Sen. Rand Paul in an impasse over a widely backed bill to designate lynching as a federal hate crime. The legislative would make lynching a federal hate crime punishable by up to life in prison comes 65 years after 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi. The Senate unanimously passed virtually identical legislation last year. The House then passed it by a sweeping 410-4 vote in February but renamed the legislation for Till—the sole change that returned the measure to the Senate. News12 New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy extended the public-health emergency he declared in New Jersey for the coronavirus pandemic by another 30 days. The move extends all of Murphy’s executive orders that remain in place to respond to the virus, such as his order for residents to stay home as much as possible. News12 New Jersey

Holy Name Medical Center has adopted new rules and procedures to protect patients and staff in the aftermath of COVID-19. The new normal for patients will include concierge service and escorts to take them where they need to go, the lab for blood drawing and COVID testing has been moved to the front door, all entrances now check visitors temperatures and outpatients go to nearly a dozen different entrances depending on what doctor they need to see. NJ Spotlight

Another 26,752 workers in New Jersey filed for unemployment benefits last week, the state Department of Labor reported June 4. Close to 1.2 million New Jerseyans have filed jobless claims since the start of the pandemic in March, while the state’s jobless rate stands at a record 15.3%. PoliticoNJ

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin has introduced a bill to extend school districts’ liability insurance coverage for graduating high school seniors for one additional month, through July 31. The bill is scheduled to go before the Assembly Education Committee on June 10, a little less than four weeks before Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order to allow outdoor, socially distanced high school and college graduations takes effect.

Legislative effort to create a dedicated funding source for NJ Transit will be pushed back another year. “I think because of all the financial pressure that no one could have foreseen, it’s going to be more difficult,” Sen. Loretta Weinberg. “But we have until Sept. 30 to work on these issues.” The Record

And finally…A drive-in movie theater at Demarest Farms received approval from Hillsdale. The Record

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